Is Yahoo’s New ‘OneSearch’ Engine Good For Privacy?

Yahoo and Verizon’s new search engine, OneSearch, is a very different product compared to the Yahoo search of eras past. OneSearch not only ditches the Yahoo branding (for obvious reasons), it also claims to not use cookies, store search history, or share user information.

Oh, but it’s still an ad-supported platform, by the way, and its gotta make money somehow.

According to The Verge, the ads are all keyword-based rather than cookies-based, meaning they’re generated on the fly when you search for something. None of your searches are stored or shared with outside companies, either, and there’s an Advanced Privacy Mode that encrypts your search terms and URL to keep third parties out.

It sounds pretty good on paper, but put another way: OneSearch is literally just Bing results flanked by (hopefully) keyword-generated ads that don’t track you despite being from a company that makes money tracking you.

Glib description aside, I don’t necessarily think OneSearch is a bad or that you should steer clear—at least for now.

Bing is a decent search engine in its own right, and I’m always an advocate for more user privacy—especially since Google makes it harder for users to get an ad-free experience. But it’s hard to give Yahoo and Verizon the benefit of the doubt when their whole business model is built on collecting user data (and are notorious for mishandling and leaking said data). By all means give OneSearch a shot, and I sincerely hope the privacy claims turn out to be true, but it’s not like our hopes for a private search engine depend upon OneSearch, either. There are plenty of other suitable search engine and internet browser alternatives already available.

By now you probably know I think Firefox is pretty damn good; its default tracker-blocking tools are great for keeping your browsing and searching private, even if you’re using Google search.

I can also say the same for Brave, which does away with all page-based ads and site trackers completely. These two have become my main browsers lately. Then there’s DuckDuckGo, which has full-on desktop and mobile browsers in addition to its popular privacy-minded search engine.

Those just a few of the many browsers, search engines, and extensions that are out there that are at least better than Chrome or Google Search when it comes to user privacy. Hopefully OneSearch is, too.


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